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Chicago Southland, IL Event Planning

Key Highlights

Hotels 67
Total Sleeping Rooms 6,500
Committable Sleeping Rooms* 175
Committable Meeting Rooms* 21
Convention Center Space 70,450 Sq. Ft.
Largest Exhibit Space 58,100 Sq. Ft.
Largest Ballroom 58,100 Sq. Ft.
Average Hotel Room Rate USD $159
Average Daily Meal Cost USD $71
Average Weekly Car Rental USD $468
*Maximum for a single hotel

Chicago Southland, IL Meeting Planning Overview

Welcome to Cvent's Meeting and Event Planning Guide to the Chicago Southland, written with meeting professionals in mind. Spanning 62 south and southwest suburbs within minutes of downtown Chicago, Chicago Southland is a convenient, affordable meeting destination bursting with major attractions, golf courses, outdoor recreation, fine dining, lodging, and a variety of meeting and event spaces. Proudly housing the metropolitan area's largest concentration of recreational forest preserves and miles of trails, Chicago Southland is perfect for active group outings, while the area's plentiful commuter rail and interstate connections put groups within easy reach of Chicago Loop landmarks. Chicago Southland is also known for its festivals and sporting events, which are held at such larges venues as TOYOTA PARK, Standard Bank Stadium, and Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre. (These also double as perfect places for group gatherings and rentals.)

Chicago Southland is easily accessible to both Chicago O'Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport. Ranked as the busiest airport in the U.S., O'Hare International sits within an hour's drive of Chicago Southland. As the nation's only dual-hub airport, O'Hare International serves as a major North American travel way. Midway International Airport is Chicago's second-largest airport, and offers several low-cost carrier options. Both airports provide direct access to several Chicago-area public transportation options, including Metra, a suburban commuter rail service that offers Chicago Southland service.

The Village of Tinley Park is the home to the Tinley Park Convention Center. Connected to the 202-room Holiday Inn and just off I-80, the newly expanded convention center sits minutes from Tinley Park's historic downtown area. The expanded Tinley Park Convention Center features a total of 130,000 square feet, assuring Tinley Park’s position as the largest and most modern Convention Center in the Chicago Southland. The Tinley Park Convention Center has 58,000 square feet of net contiguous exhibition space and over 70,000 square feet of banquet and meeting space. Meeting space will include 18 "breakout" rooms ranging in size from 700 square feet to 2,000 square feet. The Tinley Park Convention Center offers a fully equipped business center, 30-foot high waterfalls in the lobby, state-of-the-art high-speed Internet access and audio-visual equipment, and 1,300 free parking spaces on the Hotel and Convention Center grounds.

Aside from the spacious Tinley Park Convention Center, Chicago Southland's several full-service hotels offer up to 20,000 square feet of meeting space. The area is home to a number of unique venues that serve as both attractions and fantastic sites for group gatherings. Situated in Olympia Fields, the 38-acre Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center offers a number of nature-based community and environmental education programs, as well as team-building activities at its challenge course, high ropes course, climbing tower, and power pole. The popular Brookfield Zoo houses approximately 450 species of animals amid its 215 acres of meticulous gardens, as well as a number of indoor and outdoor spaces for private events. Groups can sip cocktails alongside animals in a variety of exhibits, as well as hold banquets and large-scale meetings in such spaces as The Pavilions, which consists of four exotic venues for up to 2,000 guests.

Balmoral Park Race Track, the state's premier harness racing facility, also serves as a fantastic venue for group outings and events, thanks to its party packages and variety of rentable spaces. For a different type of gambling venue, groups can gather in Horseshoe Hammond Casino's 100,000 square feet of meeting space, as well as enjoy its fine and casual dining, entertainment options, slots, and table games. Last but not least, TOYOTA PARK in Bridgeview serves as the home of the Chicago Fire soccer team and a host for world-class concerts and additional sporting events. Groups can take in the action from the park's event suites, as well as congregate at the Stadium Club, party deck, and rooftop deck.

About Chicago Southland, IL / Additional Info

A Chicago-area destination all its own, with a variety of restaurants, shops, lodging, and major attractions that showcase the very best in music, culture, and sports, Chicago Southland also offers a rich history rooted in expansion and innovation.

Since its inception, Chicago Southland has been a place of business and travel. The region was born from a selection of trading posts and supply shops developed to serve European immigrant workers who came to the area in 1836 to start construction on the Illinois and Michigan Canal. Connecting Chicago to the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, the canal contributed to the growth of Chicago Southland, as did the railroads that emerged decades later. The rails entered Chicago through Chicago Southland; those planning to settle in the West often stopped at the Chicago Southland communities that had been built along the railway lines. Early Chicago Southland settlers were third- and fourth-generation families from the eastern U.S., as well as those of German, Dutch, Irish, and Italian origin. Today, the area's diverse heritages are celebrated with a number of ethnic festivals.

Chicago Southland's population exploded with the arrival of the automobile. In 1913, construction of Lincoln Highway, the nation's first transcontinental paved roadway, had begun, and by 1915, Lincoln Highway and Dixie Highway crossed in Chicago Heights, once known as the "Crossroads of the Nation." Destinations like Matteson, Tinley Park, and Orland Park, once known as small, historic villages, grew into large automobile-based suburbs. Chicago Southland experienced another population surge after World War II; in fact, Chicago Southland's Park Forest area was designed for returning veterans.

To this day, Chicago Southland is proud of its past and ensures that historic preservation is active in its present and future. Many of the region's attractions and sites pay homage to the Illinois Central Railroad, which holds a distinct history in the region as the first land-grant railroad in the United States. Visitors and locals alike delight in the interpretive murals that line the Illinois Lincoln Highway, which together tell the story of the country's first coast-to-coast road. Visitors can choose from a variety of driving tours focused on railroad history and regional monuments. One popular railroad-minded attraction, Homewood Railroad Platform and Park, allows visitors to view mainline and commuter trains from a platform equipped with live switchyard audio.

In addition to its historical sites, Chicago Southland is home to a number of arts and culture favorites, including the Park Forest-based Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. As the largest performing arts organization in Chicago Southland, the orchestra performs a variety of series with a repertoire ranging from classical masterpieces to modern favorites. Set within the wild prairie swales of the Governors State University campus, the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park showcases 28 contemporary works set against the natural landscape.

When it's time to satisfy an appetite, Chicago Southland features hundreds of fine and casual eateries serving up a variety of specialties. Chuck's Southern Comforts Cafe, in Burbank, is known for its blend of Mexican, Cajun-Creole, and Southern flavors, as well as its slow-cooked, smoked barbecue, while Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop, in Lansing, marries authentic Cajun, Creole, and Southern flavors in its homemade offerings. Named the best small brewpub and best small brewpub brewer in the country at the Great American Beer Festival, Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery, in Flossmoor, serves classic American Heartland cuisine in a historic railroad building. Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant, in Orland Park, designs its modern menu around its handcrafted wine, while Palmero's 95th Italian Cuisine has been delighting Oak Lawn with its traditional and modern Italian cuisine since 1961.

 
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